Splitting Hairs



F. Stone Roberts
Facial hair championships began 30 years ago in the Black Forest of Germany. Beard Clubs organized social gatherings that gradually became competitive. Over time, the championships drew competitors from across Europe, but it was not until the early 1990s that American pioneers Bruce Roe and Phil Olsen discovered the event. One year before the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Berlin, we meet Phil and Bruce at home, and learn of their ongoing rivalry. We also meet outspoken World Muskateer Champion Gary Johnson, who professes no loyalties to anyone except two biker friends who accompany him to Berlin. Phil leads a team of 38 men and women to Oktoberfest and on to Berlin. We meet Phil's protégé, rookie Jack Passion, whom Phil describes as America's best hope. Meanwhile, Bruce conducts a recruiting campaign during a trip through the German countryside with his wife, daughter and son-in-law in tow. The competition begins, and we discover the varied fates of our characters as they compete against the best beards and moustaches in the world.
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